When Jeffrey Loria sold the Miami Marlins, many fans rejoiced. Loria was loathed, and considered one of the game’s worst owners. Any new ownership group would be an upgrade. At least, that’s what everyone thought.
A few months into the Marlins’ new regime, led by former New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter, at least one elected official in the area believes the new group is “worse than Loria.”
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald spoke to several Miami county commissioners about whether they would still vote for the Marlins to get a stadium with the benefit of hindsight. After seeing what has happened in the nine years after their original vote, many of the commissioners said they would change their votes to “no.”
The “worse than Loria” quote comes from county commissioner Joe Martinez. He voted “no” at the time of the initial proposal, and wishes his colleagues had done the same back then. He then airs his grievances regarding the new ownership group.
“We had a competitive team and we needed to add pieces. They ruined it and they are not going to give the taxpayers what they thought they were getting. We have good baseball fans. We don’t have enough of them. But how is Jeter going to increase attendance by getting rid of players people are attached to? It was a horrible deal and it’s been made worse. I believe this ownership group is worse than Loria.”
There are a number of illuminating quotes in Jackson’s piece. We won’t share all of them, but here are some of the other highlights:
• “We’ve been taken to the cleaners. Big disappointment.”
• “The new owners are as destructive as the one before.”
• “At this point, I’m very disappointed.”
• “I’m very annoyed.”
Not every commissioner went negative. A few said they would still vote “yes” on the stadium. Their reasoning was mostly that they didn’t want the Marlins to leave the city. One voter said it’s too early to judge Jeter.
While the new ownership group hasn’t lost everyone in Miami just yet, it’s that “worse than Loria” quote that speaks the loudest. That sentiment has been on some people’s minds ever since Jeter and Co. started making moves, but this is the first time a prominent person in Miami has said it out loud.
It’s true that it’s still early in Jeter’s tenure. And it’s possible he’ll make the Marlins into a perennial winner.
But he needs time to do that, and the people of Miami might run him out of town before then.
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